THE LORD IS FAITHFUL IN ALL HIS WORDS AND DEEDS(Numbers 20:1-13/Psalm 95:1-2,6-9/Matthew 16:13-23)

THE LORD IS FAITHFUL IN ALL HIS WORDS AND DEEDS(Numbers 20:1-13/Psalm 95:1-2,6-9/Matthew 16:13-23)


(Thursday, August 07, 2019 The memorial of St. Dominic)

Today’s readings are all about faith, trust and respect. In the first reading, Moses, acting on God’s orders, led his people into the desert. In the desert, however, the people were not happy – there was no food and no water. They said if they were going to die anyway, they would rather have died at home and they were blaming Moses, even though he was acting on God’s orders.

They think Moses has actually taken them away from God. In the first reading of today, God tells Moses to take all the people to a certain stone and to bring forth water from that stone so the people and their animals can drink and live. And he does that. The next line, “Because you were not faithful to me in showing forth my sanctity before the children of Israel, you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them” Why is God blaming Moses for his infidelity can put one into confusion.

I think the problem here was more with Moses’ attitude than his actions. Instead of telling the people that God had spoken to him and told him where to lead the people for water, he acted on the people’s personal blame toward him and reacted accordingly. He says, in response to their accusations that he has led them here to die of thirst, “Are we to bring water for you out of this rock?” Then he does.

Here, Moses acted as if the power comes from him. He acted as if he personally decided to bring the people to the desert and personally saved them by bringing water from the stone. It all came from God. God told them to flee and where, and then God gave them the water to save them. Well, one may think that the punishment given to Moses by God was too much after all He laboured to this stubborn set of people. Where Moses went wrong is taking the credit that belongs to God upon himself and failed to manifest the glory of God to the people. The case of Moses is a clear warning to all of us not be taken the glory that belongs to God no matter how talented and gifted we think we are, all we have, have been given to us by God and we should give Him the honour and glory He always deserves.

We are only instruments in His hands just like Moses whom God used as an instrument to achieve a lot before the Chosen people. In the gospel, we have a similar crisis of faith. Jesus asks His disciples who they think He is, and Peter came up with the right answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” But later when Jesus tells them all that he will die and rise again, Peter doesn’t want to believe it. He says, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” But God will not forbid it, He will allow it. Jesus rebukes Peter very strongly here. He calls him “Satan.” Like the people in the first reading, happy to be led out of slavery until times get tough. Then they doubt God and His vision for them. Peter is happy to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, but will not trust God’s plan. In both cases, there is a bigger picture that the people involved in the situation cannot see at first.

The people in the desert did not trust God and were afraid that they would die of thirst. They couldn’t see that they would be saved by God and they faltered in their faith. Peter also could not see beyond the physical loss of His friend and leader, even though the outcome will be amazing – and necessary. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Let us not be like the people in the desert or like Peter, ready to lose faith in a minute if things go bad. There’s a bigger picture we can’t see, but we have to place our faith and trust always in God even when the going gets tough because He is a God that never changes no matter the situation.

Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me grace to hold unto you firmly in faith and may my faith in you never fail me in my time of distress. Amen.